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Dog Days

So. I was out in the yard picking up garbage. Not just any garbage, mind you. This garbage consisted of the mangled wrappers of all the food my dog, Marley, has pilfered lately.

You might say it serves me right for leaving her in the house all alone, but I am resisting that train of thought.
Some days I have to go in to Seattle for medical appointments and such. She’d love to go, she gives me that hangdog expression when I tell her she’s staying home, but it’s too many hours for her to spend in the car on a hot day. So I leave her at home with a fresh bowl of water and her doggy door open, and she can stay in the nice cool house and go outside whenever she wants or needs to do so.

This used to work fine, but in the last year or so she has unlearned her manners.

It started with the butter. I would leave the butter on a saucer on the kitchen counter. I’d come home and find the saucer on the floor, buffed to a high shine, and the wrapper somewhere out in the yard. I lost a few quarter pounds of butter before I figured it out and started putting butter up on a shelf, out of reach of a dog with its hind feet on the floor and its front feet on the counter.

Sometimes I throw things in the garbage which I think don’t have anything worth eating in or on them, and she pulls stuff out and takes it out into the yard to rip apart and glean whatever orts she can find. The dog and I have different standards of what is or is not edible.

Occasionally she will tip the compost bowl off the kitchen island, or if I am foolish enough to leave a loaf of bread there, she’ll score that, too. I really hate it when she goes for the compost. She’s after something like moldy bread or pasta that was leftover too long for my taste, but not for hers. Along with the tasty morsels she noses out, however, there are the coffee grounds, avocado peels, pepper seeds, squash innards, sometimes actual liquid I’ve poured in there for some reason, and slime from things that have already started to break down. That stuff is not fun to clean up.

Then there is my bedroom stash. This is not a secret. I would not write about it here if it was. This is the drawer in my night stand where I put junk food for my own private binges. A couple of times lately I have left the drawer open, and my peanut butter cookies have disappeared. Not the chocolate. She doesn’t take the chocolate for some reason, which is good because chocolate is bad for dogs.

The first time the cookies disappeared I suspiciously asked my grandson if he knew what happened to them. He protested innocence.

He went on to say he does not steal food from stashes. He steals food from the cupboards.
I will say that his comic timing is getting to be darn near perfect. You learn well, grasshopper.

The dog takes food wrappers out to the yard in order to thoroughly rip them apart and lick them clean. Which brings me back to where I started, walking around in the yard this afternoon carrying a garbage bag.

She does it because she’s a dog. She does it because I left her home. At least she isn’t chewing her way through the door jambs any more. It’s not that onerous a task to go outside and pick up the scraps, but I wish she wouldn’t make the job necessary.

I like my dog and I’m going to find a higher shelf for my peanut butter cookies. Yes, you read that right: my peanut butter cookies are going to a better place. The dog has improved my shelf awareness.

No, I did not write this whole essay in order to get to that pun. It came to me as I was writing the paragraph.

So there you are. This is an essay about not much, but if it took your mind off the election for a couple of minutes, I’d say it has done good work. Thanks for reading.